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In the olden days, a tweet may have been just 140 characters. But in the shiny new modern world, tweets can be expanded with brief previews of the linked content: videos, images, stories. That’s what Twitter calls a “Twitter Card,” and Twitter announced yesterday that the social network is adding new types and new features, especially for mobile.

Along the way, Twitter is making the app-centric paradigm less siloed and more connected. And giving mobile app developer a major new marketing opportunity.

The new Twitter features include mobile app deep-linking, which enables a Twitter user to click into an app to view content that is linked to from a tweet. That’s a big step, because now content can be shared from within an app to Twitter by one user, then seen on Twitter and viewed within an app again by another user. In a sense, that makes apps more accessible, more connected … more weblike.


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But if a user doesn’t have the app, they’ll be given an option to download it, right from within the tweet.

That’s a huge bonus for app developers, as it massively shortcuts the user acquisition funnel. Developers and marketers can now add users directly via Twitter, simply by adding a few lines of code to any content shared from their app to the social network. The catch, of course, is that you have to build an app that is inherently social, which facilitates and even encourages sharing.

Twitter app integration

“I’m very excited about Twitter Cards,” Craig Palli, a VP at Fiksu, the mobile app marketing platform, said. “Twitter combines expansive global reach and real time intent within its social graph … as people search, explore and generate content within the Twitter ecosystem, it’s an ideal time to identify precisely which consumers could have a high propensity to convert into loyal users, and present them with a contextually-relevant mobile app.”

It’s also a major bonus for apps with existing users, as venture capitalist and Twitter investor Fred Wilson mentioned this morning:

It is particularly helpful for e-commerce apps where sending someone to a mobile web page where they are not logged in pales in comparison to sending them to a mobile app where they are logged in with their payment credentials stored and ready to be used in a transaction.

For many ecommerce and marketplace businesses, this will be a huge help in delivering transactions instead of page views. I am sure there are a host of other application types where getting a logged in user instead of a logged out user will be super helpful.

In addition, Twitter has added new card types for expanded tweets: apps, products, and galleries.

The app card, naturally, showcases information about your app, mainly details from the iOS app store or Google Play; the product card shows an image and description of your product, along with two customizable fields that could include price or ratings; and the gallery card reveals right within the tweet that multiple images are being showcased, not just one.

The product card is massive for e-commerce companies, who can now showcase their products, with critical buying information, right on Twitter. More card types will be coming, Twitter says.

It’s also worth noting that as Twitter builds up inventory of what will be essentially meta-tagged tweets, organized by commercial intent, app connections, and more, it will have very interesting opportunities to aggregate these and start to monetize them — particularly the product cards.

And finally, after significantly angering developers last year who were building on Twitter’s platform with Twitter content, Twitter is extending a massive olive branch to developers who can build on Twitter’s platform with their own content.

Image credit: The Design Work

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